In 2010, Arizona passed Proposition 203 which legally allowed marijuana to be dispensed under the proper prescription to patients. Though still illegal for recreational use, several states across the country are legalizing marijuana to individuals over the age of 21.
With these law changes comes the question; can I still get a DUI for cannabis? The simple answer is yes. However, Arizona’s law goes much deeper than that.
Individuals with medical marijuana prescriptions are allowed to consume cannabis within private residency for medicinal purposes and are allowed to venture into public while under the influence. That is as long as two very important rules are followed:
- They don’t cause a public hazard.
- They aren’t driving a vehicle while impaired.
This goes further than most people may assume. For example, even if you no longer feel impaired, you can still be charged if the residue of the drug remains in the body. Authorities are able to test this through metabolites within the bloodstream.
Some people get the idea that a medical marijuana card creates immunity from DUI laws outside of alcohol, however this is not the case.
There have been cases where defendants attempt to use their medical marijuana card as a means of appealing their DUI charge. Yet, there are instances where that residue measured by metabolites becomes an issue. Instead of using their medical card as a means of defense, individuals will claim that they weren’t impaired – even if the tests confirmed residue. The issue lies in the fact that there is no commonly accepted method of identifying what causes impairment through marijuana.
Not only can you receive a DUI from medical marijuana, you can also receive a DUI if you operate a motor vehicle under the influence of any prescription drug that alters your mood or mind, such as Xanax or Ambien.
Therefore, the same consequences you’d face with an alcohol-related DUI in Arizona also applies to a cannabis-related or other prescription drug-related DUI. These include (but are not limited to) the following;
- 1st Offense
- 10 days in jail
- A fine of up to $1,250
- Restricted license screening/drug and alcohol screening
- Community service
- Ignition interlock
- 2nd Offense
- At least 90 days of jail time
- A fine of up to $3,000
- Revocation of your license for up to 12 months
- Same screenings as previous offense
- Community service
- Ignition interlock
These consequences become more penalizing when you’re involved in a case of Extreme DUI or Aggravated DUI. In an example, there’s the potential of going to prison for up to two years.
What Do I Do If I Have a Marijuana DUI?
First, you should immediately contact a DUI or criminal defense attorney who will sufficiently take you through the steps of this legal process.
After the incident, you can expect to have to face an administrative law hearing. This will most likely suspend your license for 90 days or longer. If you have responsibilities that you need your car for – such as school, appointments, or work – you must complete an Alcohol and Drug Screening in order to receive a restricted driver’s license.
Depending on the outcome of your case, you may need to complete DUI Education and/or Treatment classes. Be advised, even if your case is dropped in court, the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) can still keep your license suspended.
Regardless of the situation, the legal process isn’t the only difficulties that people who receive DUIs go through. Receiving a DUI can be draining emotionally, financially, physically, and so on.
More often than not, we find individuals feeling like criminals for their DUI and we want to ease this notion. Giving people a chance to learn from their mistakes and flourish in the long run of their lives is of the utmost importance to us. It can be difficult dealing with the emotions that the legal actions of a DUI set upon you, however Alcohol Screening Scottsdale believes in assisting everyone during this period of their lives.
If you’ve received a DUI and are in need of a Drug and Alcohol Screening for a restricted driver’s license, Alcohol Screening Arizona is here to help. Our goal is to make the process as easy-going as it can be.
Give us a call today at 602-687-9481 for more information.